Las Vegas Abortion Clinics May See More Procedures, Out-of-State Patients

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Las Vegas Abortion Clinics May See More Procedures, Out-of-State Patients

The US Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade could be followed by many states restricting abortions, or possibly banning them. But Nevada will continue to provide abortions to local residents and visitors from nearby states, including residents of Arizona, Idaho, Texas, and Utah, reports said.

David Orentlicher, a UNLV law professor
David Orentlicher, a UNLV law professor
David Orentlicher, a UNLV law professor, pictured above. He says many pregnant women in neighboring states that ban abortion will come to Nevada for an abortion, following a new Supreme Court ruling. (Image: UNLV)

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains predicts the number of abortions to jump by about 80% in the region that includes Nevada. That works out to approximately 10,000 more patients in the Rocky Mountain region, which also includes Colorado and New Mexico, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

“We can expect that many pregnant women in neighboring states that ban abortion will come to Nevada for an abortion,” UNLV health law scholar David Orentlicher told Casino.org. Orentlicher is director of the UNLV Health Law Program and teaches at the William Boyd School of Law. He also is a Democrat in the Nevada Assembly.

Two Planned Parenthood clinics in Southern Nevada will add health staff and expand hours to meet the increased need, the Review-Journal report adds.

Planned Parenthood will proudly continue to care for our patients in Nevada and all those who come to us for care,” Whitney Phillips, a Planned Parenthood spokesperson, told Casino.org following today’s court ruling.

Also, Stephanie Bethel, a spokesperson for the Southern Nevada Health District, told Casino.org the health district “will continue to provide family planning services to clients at our clinics. Our services are not impacted,” she said about the court ruling.

In 2019, Nevada saw some 8,414 abortions within state borders, according to public data.

Nevada Abortion Rights

Nevada actually includes the right to an abortion in its state constitution. The law allows abortions at least in the first six months of pregnancy.

We have a right to abortion through 24 weeks of pregnancy and after 24 weeks to protect the life or health of the pregnant patient,” Orentlicher explained.

Also, current Nevada law on abortion was approved by voter referendum. That means another voter referendum is required to change it, Orentlicher added.

Dobbs Ruling

On the national level, the US Supreme Court in a narrow decision overruled two landmark abortion decisions with the new ruling. These are Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.

There is no constitutional right to abortion, giving states and Congress very broad latitude to regulate abortion services or to prohibit most abortions,” Orentlicher said about the new Mississippi decision: Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Three liberal members of the court opposed the majority opinion. In his opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wanted to weaken the Roe and Casey decisions. But he preserved the right to an abortion. It replaced “viability” of the life, “with a standard based on ensuring that the pregnant patient has an adequate opportunity to exercise the right to choose an abortion,” Orentlicher explained

In his view, Mississippi’s ban after 15 weeks would allow sufficient time to decide, Orentlicher said.

Political Debate

Today, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, D, said in a tweet, “As long as I’m Governor, Nevada will continue to fight for reproductive rights & expand access to health care. I’ve committed to signing legislation that protects reproductive rights, including SB179 which repealed outdated criminal penalties for prescribing medically induced abortion, and SB94 which funds family planning services like contraception, maternal care and STI prevention.”

But Adam Laxalt, a Republican US Senate candidate, who was Nevada’s attorney general, said today’s Supreme Court decision “is a historic victory for the sanctity of life and the principles of democratic self-determination.”

The Supreme Court has never had the expertise nor the authority to unilaterally legislate on abortion. After more than 50 years, that responsibility is poised to finally return to its rightful owners: the American people and their elected representatives.”

He added the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe does not change settled law in Nevada and elsewhere.

In a statement issued by Nevada Right to Life, the organization said the Supreme Court “overturned the notorious and unjust Roe v Wade decision which struck down abortion laws in all 50 states and made abortion legal throughout pregnancy for any reason… Overturning Roe is not the ultimate aim of the pro-life movement, but it is a necessary step to allow the process of ridding our nation of abortion to advance.”

On the other hand, the Las Vegas-based Culinary Union said, “Reproductive rights and abortion access are worker rights.” The union has some 33,000 women members.

The Culinary Union stands firmly against unjust attacks against working people, our civil rights, on the abortion and the right to choose, and policies which limit our health care access,” Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge told Casino.org. “The right to a safe abortion remains legal in Nevada because Democrats, whom Culinary Union members have helped elect, have protected Nevadans right to choose.”

Laxalt’s opponent, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev. said in a tweet that “extremists are planning to pass a federal abortion ban if they retake the Senate. And Nevadans cannot risk my opponent Adam Laxalt – who’s celebrating today’s ruling as ‘an historic victory’ – being in the Senate for that vote.”

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